Exam day has arrived.
You may feel ready, or you may not. Whatever the case, there’s no more time left to study. However, there are still a number of things you can do to ensure you achieve the best marks possible.
Get to the exam venue ahead of time
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam venue. Allow for the many unexpected events that may occur between your home and the venue, such as traffic and unforeseen requests from family members, friends or work associates.
Once you get to the venue, hopefully early, take a few minutes to relax and breathe deeply. The more oxygen you can send to your brain at this time, the clearer you’ll be able to think over the next few hours.
Understand the exam instructions
Too many candidates under-perform in exams because they fail to understand exactly what is required.
Listen carefully to any instructions given by the exam supervisor, and read the instructions on the exam paper. You should also read all questions carefully before beginning, check the marks allocated to each question, then plan how much time you should allocate to them.
In addition, you can use any preparation time to scribble a few notes that outline your proposed answer to each question. This will help later, when you’re completing the answers in full, especially if you’re then feeling the pressure of possibly running out of time.
Answer the easiest questions first
You don’t have to answer all the questions in the order in which they’re presented.
In fact, it can be a good idea to focus first on those questions you’re most confident about. That way, you can quickly build positive momentum.
Once you have quickly, confidently answered the easiest questions, you can then devote more thinking time to questions that may pose a greater challenge.
Stick to the point
In each section of the exam, answer the question, the whole question and nothing but the question.
You may be tempted to diverge into areas of knowledge that you’re more confident about or more interested in. However, if these don’t relate directly to the question asked, they may lose you valuable marks.
Manage your time
Continuously refer back to your initial time allocation plan to ensure you’re not spending more time on any particular question than you originally envisaged.
You don’t want to run out of time to answer all the questions in the paper. Unanswered questions are marks left on the table. Also, where possible, try to give yourself a few minutes at the end of the exam to review (and perhaps even improve) your answers.
If you’re calm and deliberate throughout the exam time, you give yourself the greatest opportunity to maximise your results.